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Indonesian President Yudhoyono speaks at Parliament House
Indonesian President Yudhoyono addresses Parliament in the House of Reps (AP sample photo: Mark Graham)

Yudhoyono comes to Canberra

Smugglers will be 'crims' - what about their passengers?

The remarks were reported after the March 10 morning press conference by Australian Associated Press, but no commentators were sufficiently alert to pick them up and read between the lines.

What Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono gave away after closed-door talks in Canberra, was more than we heard from Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

SBY, as he is popularly called, indicated that he regarded Indonesia as a "transit country" while Australia was the "destination country", before going on to say that "arrangements on temporary transit" would have to be found and that "relocation" would be an issue. In his words:

"Australia as a destination country and Indonesia as a transit country cannot resolve this issue by ourselves. Every country must be on board on this [framework]. This framework would include arrangements on temporary transit in Indonesia and how [asylum seekers] will be relocated in the process and other issues..." (source below)

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Kevin Rudd and Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's plan to stop people smuggling

By Stephen Johnson and Karlis Salna
AAP / The Age
March 10, 2010 1:12AM

The Indonesians will determine who comes to Australia

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will formalise an agreement to combat people smuggling today.

Dr Yudhoyono will make history as the first Indonesian head of state to address a joint sitting of the Australian parliament.

He will also use his visit to Canberra to formalise an arrangement to prevent people smugglers from moving human cargo between jurisdictions.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith and his Indonesian counterpart Marty Natelegawa met in Canberra yesterday to sign off on details of the agreement.

It is based on the Lombok Treaty, a security co-operation agreement signed between Australia and Indonesia in 2006.

Mr Smith has confirmed that Mr Rudd and Dr Yudhoyono will formalise the agreement today with a joint statement.

"We are looking to formalising a framework of co-operation on people smuggling and people movement," he told ABC Television yesterday.

"That will be formally considered by the president and the prime minister tomorrow and that's a good thing."

Asked about what the agreement would entail, Mr Smith said Australia and Indonesian would have arrangements in place to prevent people smugglers from illegally moving people from one jurisdiction to another.

"We know we're facing a very difficult problem for Australia for Indonesia and also for our region," the minister said.

So far in 2010, 20 boats have arrived illegally in Australian waters from Indonesia.

With detention facilities on Christmas Island at almost at breaking point, the government is under pressure to find a way to stem the flow of asylum seekers to Australia, and particularly from Indonesia, the main conduit for people smuggling in the region.

Still, Immigration Minister Chris Evans has praised Indonesia for its efforts in trying to combat people smuggling, saying the Australian Federal Police had described their level of cooperation as being "at an all-time high".

"We're not, at the moment, able to prevent them all from progressing down on boats to Australia, but that doesn't mean there's any lack of effort from Indonesians or any lack of resolve from this government," he said.

Amnesty International said Australia must ensure any cooperation with Indonesia or broader regional engagement on asylum seeker issues is carried out in line with human rights standards.

"Amnesty International acknowledges the important role of regional cooperation in tackling people smuggling issues in the Asia Pacific region," Amnesty International Australia's refugee coordinator Graham Thom said.

"However, the organisation maintains that any regional or bilateral cooperation on refugee issues must acknowledge and prioritise human rights."

Dr Thom also called for more to be done to find a resolution to the stand-off at the Indonesian port of Merak, where 240 Sri Lankan asylum seekers have been holed up for five months.

Rudd, SBY to hold talks on people smuggling

ABC News Online
Posted Wed Mar 10, 2010 6:15am AEDT

Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will today become the first leader from his country to address Federal Parliament.

The president is on a three day visit to Australia that includes stops in Canberra and Sydney.

Before the address to Parliament he will meet with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to hold talks on stamping out people smuggling.

A spike in the number of asylum seeker boats reaching Australian waters makes people smuggling a central issue in relations between Indonesia and Australia.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith has told Lateline Mr Rudd and Mr Yudhoyono will today formalise an agreement to stop the practice.

"It will also go to further cooperation on disruption and prevention," he said.

"Whether it's people smuggling or people movement or people trafficking it is just one of the very many features of the very close relationship that we have with Indonesia."

But Mr Smith says people should not expect the details of the agreement to be revealed.

"It does go to both operational matters and also to prevention and disruption organisational arrangements," he said.

But Opposition Immigration spokesman Scott Morrison says while cooperation is important, softer immigration policies are to blame for the surge in boats.

"Until the Rudd Government faces up to that reality then the boats will continue to arrive," he said.

"The priority should be changing policies of his own making that rolled back the strong border protection regime he inherited from the Coalition."

SBY set to sign people-smuggling agreement

The Age
Lindsay Murdoch, Tom Allard and Dan Oakes
March 8, 2010

New arrangements to cope with the surge of illegal boat arrivals in Australia will be announced during the visit to Canberra this week of Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Debate over people-smuggling intensified at the weekend with the interception by Australian authorities of two boats, carrying 113 people.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott yesterday said Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has lost control of Australia's borders as a result of pandering to "inner city electorates".

Asked if he would have turned the boats away, Mr Abbott said: "A coalition government would not have changed the situation that was working."

However, Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard hit back, saying conflict in Asia, particularly Sri Lanka, was responsible for the growing number of asylum seekers.

Dr Yudhoyono is expected to endorse the agreement when he makes an historic address before more than 220 MPs and senators in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, the first time an Indonesian president has addressed Parliament.

The deal will include a commitment from the Indonesian government to speedily introduce laws criminalising people-smuggling and stiffer prison terms for human traffickers while Australia displays more understanding, and provides a guarantee of better consular access, for poor Indonesian fisherman who bring boat people to Australia.

News of the agreement comes as Indonesia's Foreign Minister, Marty Natalegawa, criticised Mr Abbott's earlier suggestion that boats laden with asylum seekers heading for Australia should be turned back.

Mr Natalegawa said he did not want to become embroiled in party politics but said Indonesia had noted the floating of the proposal by Mr Abbott.

"We were really quite surprised actually to hear that kind of thought," he said. "I see it as backward.

"The general concept of pushing boats back and forth would be an aberration to the general consensus that has been established since 2003."

In 2003, the government led by John Howard signed up to a regional forum on people smuggling known as the Bali Process.

The new agreement is also expected to include ways to thwart tactics being used by people-smugglers to escape long jail sentences in Australia. The smugglers are now using a second, usually smaller boat, to trail boats carrying asylum seekers from Indonesia.

As the boats near Australia's territorial waters, the smugglers transfer from the asylum seekers' boat to the other boat and return to Indonesia.

The issue of people-smugglers is widely seen to have overshadowed good relations between Australia and Indonesia on many other issues.

More than 240 Sri Lankan asylum seekers have remained on a wooden boat in the Indonesian port of Merak, West Java, since October last year.

Indonesian authorities believed that Australia should have taken responsibility for the people on board because they were in international waters when they were taken aboard an Australian ship.

Officials in Jakarta were extremely unhappy with reports last year that the Rudd government was pushing a so-called "Indonesian solution" where asylum seekers would be kept in Indonesian camps.

One of the reasons asylum seekers are prepared to put their lives in the hands of often-ruthless smugglers is that they believe that if they can reach Australia they will almost certainly be allowed to stay. More than 90 per cent of the arrivals at the Christmas Island are accepted as refugees.

Rudd, SBY sign people-smuggling framework

ABC News Online
Posted Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:00pm AEDT

Australia and Indonesia have agreed to work together to do more to stop people smuggling and terrorism in the region.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono made the pledge today after an extensive meeting on a range of topics.

Mr Yudhoyono is on a three-day visit to Australia and will address a joint sitting of Parliament this afternoon.

The agreement comes after Indonesia's foreign minister, Marty Natalegawa, and his Australian counterpart, Stephen Smith, met yesterday to discuss its details.

Mr Rudd has announced they have agreed to have annual meetings between senior ministers of the two countries and closer co-operation on issues including education and climate change.

But the centrepiece of today's announcement was a new agreement to try to stop the flow of asylum seekers reaching Australia.

"Our officials yesterday signed an implementation framework on people smuggling and trafficking," Mr Rudd said.

"This will enhance and intensify our co-operation on dealing with this complex regional and global challenge."

The two leaders have also agreed to work together to combat terrorist groups in the region.

Mr Rudd said he and Mr Yudhoyono had had a "long and intimate discussion" on the two countries' relationship.

"For us in Australia, Indonesia is a major partner for our future in the region and the world at large," Mr Rudd said.

Earlier, Dr Natalegawa said he did not support any policy to turn boats back from Australian waters.

"We have been working with successive Australian governments recently of different political inclinations in a very good way on people smuggling," he said.

"I think going to this kind of approach of simply pushing back boats to where they have come from would be a backward step.

"It would not be a useful step because it would be inconsistent with that approach of having the three elements [of] origin, transit and destination countries working hand in hand."

Dr Natalegawa says Indonesia will also enact laws to fight people-smuggling.

"The Indonesian government is determined to formally and legally criminalise people-smuggling as an activity, notwithstanding our tremendous co-operation and work on the issue in the past," he said.

"And so it is part and parcel of that architecture in addressing the problem."

Meanwhile, Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has described his talks with the Indonesian president this morning as cordial, constructive and candid.

Mr Abbott said he discussed several issues with Mr Yudhoyono.

"We talked about the potential for deepening economic cooperation between Australia and Indonesia," Mr Abbott said.

"We talked about the need to have strong policies against people smuggling. We also talked about the circumstances of people in Indonesian jails."

Mr Abbott has signalled that a Coalition government would turn back asylum seeker boats making their way to Australian waters.

Indonesia, Australia sign people smuggling deal

March 10, 2010 12:13pm

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has confirmed Australia and Indonesia have signed off on a framework for greater co-operation on tackling people smuggling.

Mr Rudd described Indonesia as a major partner for Australia's future in the region and the world at large, during a joint news conference with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

"We have in President Yudhoyono a great leader of his country, also a great friend of Australia," Mr Rudd said in Canberra today.

"Australia's relationship with Indonesia now forms a vital part of Australia's international engagement."

Mr Rudd announced both nations had agreed to hold annual meetings between leaders, foreign ministers and defence ministers.

Closer co-operation

There would also be closer co-operation on people smuggling and terrorism and closer economic ties.

Australia and Indonesia had signed off on an implementation framework on people smuggling, Mr Rudd said.

"This will enhance and intensify our co-operation on dealing with this complex regional and global challenge."

"The President and I have had excellent discussions this morning across a vast range of areas," Mr Rudd said, adding informal talks began at The Lodge last night.

Along with their wives and foreign policy advisers, the Prime Minister and President had a "long, detailed, intimate discussion" about the challenges faced by both nations.

The pair agreed to upgrade the countries' relationship "to become one of a comprehensive strategic partnership".

The leaders would meet annually in Australia or Indonesia, Mr Rudd said.

"We have also resolved that our foreign and defence ministers will meet each year on a two-plus-two basis, as we currently do with our closest partner the United States."

Dr Yudhoyono praised the relationship between Indonesia and Australia as one that was was progressing "very solidly".

"On bilateral and regional and international forums, we are constantly co-operating closely," he said through a translator.

"On the issue of climate change, we are co-operating closely and also on the issue of dealing with the global financial crisis, as well as efforts to evolve the regional architecture."

He thanked Mr Rudd for his warm welcome, and committed the two nations to exploring new opportunities together.

It is the president's second visit to Australia.

Dr Yudhoyono said during the talks with Mr Rudd Australia and Indonesia had agreed to expand co-operation in four major areas.

There will be increased co-operation on security and law enforcement, in the fight against terrorism, military to military co-operation and transnational crime including people smuggling, he said.

People smuggling

Asked about efforts to combat people smuggling, Dr Yudhoyono did not detail what new arrangements, if any, had been agreed upon.

But he acknowledged the boat issue was complex, involving law, security and humanitarian concerns, and neither Australia nor Indonesia could go it alone.

"Australia as a destination country and Indonesia as a transit country cannot resolve this issue by ourselves," he said.

"Every country must be on board on this.

"(But) don't forget we already have a framework of co-operation, what is known as the Bali Process, which Indonesia and Australia initiated."

The two countries had to develop the mechanism to deal with the issue of people smuggling in a more practical and effective way, Dr Yudhoyono said.

"This framework would include arrangements on temporary transit in Indonesia and how they will be relocated in the process and other issues," he said.

"We need to keep improving this mechanism, we need to make it more effective and we will always continue to discuss the technical aspects of how this cooperation is going to be pursued and improved."

Extradition requests

Mr Rudd committed Australia to working closely with Indonesia on extradition matters, although he declined to detail specific cases.

"Our foreign ministers have spent a long time working through a range of extradition matters over a period of time," he said.

"But can I say, when it comes to helping our friends in Indonesia deal with their own law enforcement responsibilities, we always seek to take a positive and constructive approach."

Extradition requests were challenges faced by both Indonesia and Australia from time to time and necessitated appropriate legal arrangements, Mr Rudd said.

Travel warnings

Mr Rudd was then quizzed by an Indonesian journalist about Australia's travel warning for Indonesia, which the reporter said created a "bad image" for their country.

The Prime Minister congratulated Indonesian security agencies for tackling terrorism but said altering travel warnings wasn't up to him.

"The breakthroughs which Indonesia has made in undermining various terrorist networks has been significant," Mr Rudd said.

"(But) as for the current status of Australian travel warnings, these are assessed independently by agencies of the Australian Government.

"They will continue to be executed that way in the future. The Australian Government at a political level does not interfere."

Rudd, SBY agree to tackle people-smugglers

ABC Current Affairs | The World Today
Alexandra Kirk
Wednesday, March 10, 2010 12:14:00

ELEANOR HALL: The Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono have sealed an agreement to crack down on people smuggling and prevent boatloads of asylum seekers from heading to Australia.

The two leaders held talks this morning where they also decided to upgrade the bilateral relationship so that they meet at least once a year.

This afternoon President Yudhoyono will address the Federal Parliament in a special session where senators are invited to join MPs in the House of Representatives.

It will be a first time an Indonesian leader has addressed the Australian Parliament and it is the centrepiece of the President's three-day visit to Australia.

In Canberra, Alexandra Kirk reports.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The Prime Minister and President started their talks last night at The Lodge and continued them this morning in Parliament House. They've sealed a cooperation agreement on people smuggling and people movement under the existing Lombok Treaty and Bali Process.

Kevin Rudd made clear the two enjoy a good relationship, which will be stepped up.

KEVIN RUDD: We have in President Yudhoyono a great leader of his country and also a great friend of Australia. Mr President you are indeed a welcomed guest in Australia. We come together as friends, as neighbours, as partners and I've got to say at a personal level, a relationship which I enjoy, a relationship which I have placed enormous trust in in recent times and a relationship that I'm sure will continue into the future.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The Prime Minister's upgraded the government to government meetings to the level Australia shares with the United States.

KEVIN RUDD: We've agreed to upgrade our relationship to become one of a comprehensive strategic partnership. We've resolved that we'll meet annually, either in Australia, in Indonesia, at head of government level.

We've also resolved that our foreign and defence ministers will meet each year on a two-plus-two basis as we currently do with our closest partner, the United States. We've agreed that we will establish an Australian-Indonesia leadership dialogue to promote greater people to people cooperation between our two countries. As we also currently have with the United States.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The talks covered a range of other key areas of concern.

KEVIN RUDD: We've agreed to an arrangement on consular notification and assistance. And we look forward to discussions on a possible transfer of sentence prisoner's framework. Also, our officials yesterday signed an implementation framework on people smuggling and trafficking in persons.

This will enhance and intensify our cooperation on dealing with this complex regional and global challenge. Also we have enhanced our cooperation in the dismantling of terrorist networks and I would congratulate again the Indonesian authorities on their excellent work in the last 24 hours in dealing with terrorist networks within their own country.

Terrorism is a challenge for both our countries - at home, in the region and abroad, more extensively.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: President Yudhoyono says combating people smuggling is an international issue, but a bilateral agreement will help.

SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO: This framework would include arrangement on temporary transit in Indonesia and how they will be relocated in the process and other issues.

Clearly what we need to do is, we need to keep improving this mechanism, we need to make it more effective and we will always continue to discuss the technical aspects of how this cooperation is going to be pursued and improve.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: First thing this morning, Tony Abbott spent half an hour with the Indonesian President.

TONY ABBOTT: It was a cordial, a constructive and a candid exchange. I'm not going to go into the details of precisely what was discussed but I can indicate the broad subject areas; potential for deepening economic cooperation between Australia and Indonesia.

We talked about the need to have strong policies against people smuggling. We also talked about the circumstances of people in Indonesian jails. So they were the issues that we talked about.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The Opposition's called for boats to be towed back to Indonesia. Indonesia's Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa is blunt in his assessment of that idea.

MARTY NATALEGAWA: Irrespective of one's politics, I think going to this kind of approach of simply pushing back the boats, where they have come from would be a backward step. It would not be a useful step because it would be inconsistent with that approach of having the three elements - origin, transit and destination countries, working hand in hand.

We don't want to simply push the issue back in the pipeline to the earliest stage. So we would want to have everyone on board substantively in dealing with this issue.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Indonesia's Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa ending that report from Alexandra Kirk.

Indonesian President cements new people smuggling deal

ABC Current Affairs - PM
Alexandra Kirk
Wednesday, March 10, 2010

MARK COLVIN: Australia's sometimes strained relationship with Indonesia was strengthened today.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who's on a three day visit to Australia, said he'd confirmed that Indonesian police had killed Dulmatin.

He was one of the key terrorists involved in the 2002 Bali bombings, sometimes named as the driving force of those attacks.

In a first for Indonesia, the President addressed the Australian Parliament this afternoon.

He and Kevin Rudd have resolved to upgrade the bilateral partnership.

The two leaders will meet once a year.

Australia's and Indonesia's foreign and defence ministers will do the same.

And they've agreed on a new cooperation framework to prevent and disrupt people smuggling operations; Indonesia's going to make people smuggling a criminal act.

From Canberra, Alexandra Kirk reports.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The day's been replete with symbolism.


(Indonesian anthem)

(Australian anthem)

KEVIN RUDD: Mr President you are indeed a welcome guest in Australia. We come together as friends, as neighbours, as partners and I've got to say at a personal level, a relationship which I enjoy.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott met Dr Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, separately, then at an official lunch and again in the House of Representatives where the Indonesian President became only the 5th world leader to address the Australian parliament in its 110 year history.

KEVIN RUDD: Mr President we are ambitious for the future of our relationship. We are committed to a new partnership for a new century for Australia and for Indonesia.

Mr President you are a welcome guest in this Parliament.

TONY ABBOTT: As people we like each other and as nations we need each other.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: But the Opposition leader also used the occasion to take a swipe at Kevin Rudd's asylum seeker policy, with the arrival of another boatload today; the 21st for the year.

KEVIN RUDD: We have worked to end people smuggling before. People smuggling has started again and we can stop it again, provided it's done cooperatively and with the clear understanding of our mutual interests and with the right policies in place here in Australia.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The Prime Minister and the Indonesian President have agreed to step up the Australian Indonesian partnership.

The two leaders will meet once a year in either country as will the foreign and defence ministers, with a new Australia Indonesia Leadership dialogue to bring influential figures together for wide ranging exchanges.

Kevin Rudd and the President have also cemented a new cooperation framework to combat people smuggling.

The Federal Government refuses to specify what's in it, saying that would warn people smugglers and traffickers of their efforts.

But President Yodhoyono has revealed one part of the deal.

SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO: And to strengthen our ... instrument the Indonesian government will soon introduce to parliament a law that will criminalise. Those involved in people smuggling, those found guilty will be sent to prison for up to five years.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The President also came armed with some other news; that Indonesian police quote "put out of commission" one of the key terrorists involved in the 2002 Bali bombing which killed 202 people including 88 Australians.

SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO (translated): I have great news to announce to you. Today I can announce to you that after a successful police raid against a terrorist hiding out in Jakarta yesterday that we can confirm that one of those that were killed were Mr Dulmatin, one of the top south east Asian terrorists that we've been looking for.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: SBY, as he's known, says the two countries have come a long way together but it's not always been an easy relationship.

SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO: In the last 60 years of our diplomatic relations we have gone through many ups and downs. Many generational changes, many political errors, and many crises.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The two came together after the Bali bombings and tsunami. East Timor, he says, represents an all time low.

Tensions remain. Indonesia's territorial sovereignty is one of them.

SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO: Indonesians are proud people who cherish our national unity and territorial integrity above all else. The success of peace and reconciliation in Aceh and Papua is not trivial but a matter of national survival for us, Indonesians.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: He says while the two countries continue to get closer, there will be "speed humps".

SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO: We have to continue to earn each other's trust for trust is at the heart of our bilateral relations.

Excellencies, friends, the Australian Indonesians partnership today is solid and strong but just how far this partnership with take us will depend on our ability to address a set of challenges.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: No official guest is allowed to leave without a gift. President Yudhoyono is taking home an Australian made acoustic guitar.

KEVIN RUDD: The President sings well, he writes music and he writes his own lyrics and in all three departments he's vastly superior to myself. And I hope he enjoys this Australian acoustic guitar which has his initial now inscribed on the side.

MARK COLVIN: The Prime Minister Kevin Rudd ending Alexandra Kirks' report.

SBY shows sympathy for Balibo Five

AAP / The Age
by Cathy Alexander
March 10, 2010 - 6:24PM

The Indonesian president has expressed sympathy to the families of Australian newsmen killed in Balibo in 1975.

The surprise move could help end 35 years of rancour between the two countries.

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono sent a personal message of support to the widow of one of the five men during a lunch at Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday.

And he willingly received a letter from the widow, Shirley Shackleton, in which she set out her concerns about the deaths.

Mrs Shackleton described the president's actions as a "miracle".

The deaths of the Australian-based newsmen, who were covering the Indonesian invasion of East Timor in 1975, has been a long-running sore between Australia and Indonesia.

Indonesia has always maintained the men were caught in crossfire and the case should be closed.

But some Australians - including the NSW deputy coroner - believe the Indonesian army murdered the men to prevent them reporting on the invasion.

Last year, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) launched a war crimes investigation into the deaths, while the release of the film Balibo rekindled public interest. It was banned in Indonesia.

Indonesia has not welcomed the murder accusations and the issue is highly sensitive.

Mrs Shackleton, the widow of Greg Shackleton, went to Wednesday's lunch with a letter calling on Dr Yudhoyono to "put this atrocity to rest" and face the truth.

She was stunned when two emissaries from the president approached her.

"They came and said that we've come from President Yudhoyono to give you his best wishes," she told AAP.

"The emissary said he wants you to know he's very sympathetic to you, and he's very interested to read what you have to say in your letter."

Mrs Shackleton handed over her letter and responded with: "Thank you thank you thank you, and how wonderful for him to do this."

"I think it's a little bit of a miracle," she told AAP.

Mrs Shackleton said the president's actions augured well for a firm and true relationship between Australia and Indonesia.

Much to lose if friendship falters: SBY

ABC News Online
By online political correspondent Emma Rodgers
Updated Wed Mar 10, 2010 5:03pm AEDT

Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has told the Australian Parliament that the two countries are stakeholders in a common future, with much to lose if the relationship falters.

And he has pledged that Indonesia will do more to tackle people smuggling by making it a criminal offence carrying a five-year jail term under Indonesian law.

The issue had been a source of tension between Australia and Indonesia after the Oceanic Viking standoff late last year.

After agreeing to cooperate with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to combat people smuggling, Mr Yudhoyono said Indonesia would now legislate to make it a crime.

And he said it would also speed up its processing of refugees waiting to be settled in other countries.

"Now that we know much more about your modus operandi, our respective authorities will intensify their cooperation to disrupt people smuggling activities," he said.

The two countries will also share more intelligence on terrorism.

During lunch in the Parliament's Great Hall, Mr Yudhoyono confirmed that one of the masterminds of the 2002 Bali bombing, Dulmatin, had been killed during a police raid yesterday.

Mr Yudhoyono was the first Indonesian president to address a joint sitting of Parliament and said he was greatly honoured to do so.

He told MPs and senators the relationship between Australian and Indonesia was solid and strong, but that an effort must be made to nurture the partnership.

He said he also wanted Australians to understand that Indonesia was "more than a beach playground with coconut trees".

"We have to continue to earn each other's trust," he said. "Australia and Indonesia have a great future together.

"We are not just neighbours. We are not just friends. We are strategic partners. We are equal stakeholders in a common future, with much to gain if we get this relationship right and much to lose if we get it wrong."

Mr Yudhoyono also acknowledged the relationship had not always been easy, with periods "burdened by mistrust".

He singled out East Timor's bid for independence as a time when relations hit an "all-time low".

"There were moments when we felt like our worlds were just too far apart," he said.

But he said Indonesians now looked upon Australia differently.

'Speed bumps'

Australia and Indonesia would face more "speed bumps" in their relationship, but these had to be solved instead of lamented, he said.

Stereotypes still existed in both countries, Mr Yudhoyono said, with some Australians thinking Indonesia was a dictatorship and some Indonesians believing a "white Australia" still exists.

Mr Yudhoyono said Australia and Indonesia were united by grief and he would always remember the help given after the 2004 tsunami, as well as the aid his country gave Australia during the Victorian bushfires.

"I was so proud to see Australian soldiers and the TNI troops working together to save lives [during the tsunami]," he said.

Mr Rudd praised Mr Yudhoyono's leadership and welcomed him to Parliament.

"In doing so we symbolise the profound changes that have occurred in the relationship between our two countries," he said.

"Mr president, we welcome you as our neighbour. We welcome you as our friend.

"Our modern friendship has been forged in much adversity, an adversity which has deepened rather than strained the bonds between us."

Mr Rudd said despite being very different countries, Australia and Indonesia were working well together.

"We are ambitious for the future of our relationship," he said.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said both countries could work together to stop people smuggling.

"People smuggling has started again and we can stop it again provided it is done cooperatively," he said.

Mr Yudhoyono is only the fifth world leader to address a joint sitting of Parliament in its 110-year history.

His speech received an extended round of applause from MPs and senators, many of whom greeted and shook hands with him afterwards.

Mr Rudd and Mr Yudhoyono have also agreed to have senior ministers meet every year.

Old, damaging stereotypes hurting relations, Yudhoyono tells parliament

Joe Kelly
The Australian
March 10, 2010 4:44PM

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono says damaging stereotypes are the key challenge to Australia-Indonesia relations and that he will toughen Jakarta's stance on people-smugglers.

The Indonesian President today declared new laws would be introduced to criminalise people-smuggling and make it punishable with jail.

The announcement was made in a speech to a joint sitting of Australian parliament.

"The Indonesian government will soon introduce into parliament a law that will criminalise those involved in people-smuggling. Those found guilty will be sent to prison for up to five years," he said.

Applause broke out following the declaration.

Dr Yudhoyono said he had spoken closely with Kevin Rudd on the problem of people-smuggling, but warned it was an "issue that seems likely to go on, in the short term".

He said Indonesian authorities would intensify cooperation with Australia on smugglers and work to relocate boatpeople more quickly.

He argued it was a serious problem requiring origin, transit and destination countries to work together.

The Indonesian President also identified a number of challenges to the Australian-Indonesian relationship, highlighting some of the damaging stereotypes on both sides.

He attacked perceptions in Australia that Indonesia remained an authoritarian nation that could not act responsibly in its international relations.

"The most persistent problem in our relations is the persistent of age-old stereotypes, misleading, simplistic," he said.

"Even in the age of cable television and internet, there are Australians who still see Indonesia as an authoritarian country or as a military dictatorship or as a hotbed of Islamic extremism or even as an expansionist power."

Likewise he said that within Indonesia many were afflicted with `Australia-phobia', believed the White Australia policy still persisted and thought Australia harboured "ill intentions" toward Indonesia.

"We must expunge this preposterous caricature if we are to achieve a more resilient partnership."

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to jail people-smugglers for five years

Mark Dodd
The Australian
March 11, 2010 12:00AM

People-smugglers caught in Indonesia will face five years' jail under tough anti-trafficking measures unveiled yesterday during a historic speech to federal parliament by visiting President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

In the first speech by an Indonesian leader to Australia's parliament, Dr Yudhoyono announced that a new law would make people-smuggling a crime in Indonesia - a move designed to discourage the Indonesian fishermen who have carried thousands of asylum-seekers into Australian waters.

The President's announcement followed a day of high drama in which Indonesian counter-terrorism police confirmed the death of the country's most wanted terrorist, Bali bombing mastermind Dulmatin, on Tuesday during a raid targeting a militant hideout in Jakarta.

Dr Yudhoyono was reading an earlier speech to a state luncheon in the Great Hall at Parliament House in Canberra when a military aide passed him a note.

"I have great news to announce to you," the President told guests.

"After a successful police raid against a terrorist hideout in Jakarta, we can confirm that one of those killed was Mr Dulmatin, one of the top Southeast Asian terrorists that we've been looking for," he said through an interpreter.

At 2.30pm, the President was escorted into a House of Representatives chamber packed with MPs from both houses, where he was introduced by the Speaker, Harry Jenkins.

Praising the Australia-Indonesia relationship as "solid and strong", Dr Yudhoyono warned of new "non-traditional" threats posed by terrorism, people-smuggling, drugs and natural disasters, for which Canberra and Jakarta should be prepared. He said both governments acknowledged that the vexed issue of people-smuggling was a regional problem, requiring a regional solution.

"And to strengthen our legal instruments, the Indonesian government will soon introduce to parliament a law that will criminalise those involved in people-smuggling - those found guilty will be sent to prison for five years," Dr Yudhoyono pledged to loud applause.

His promise came as Australia's Border Protection Command confirmed the interception of the 21st asylum-seeker boat this year.

The Australian understands Indonesian authorities are preparing to deal with another situation - the 248 Australia-bound Sri Lankan Tamils refusing to get off their boat in the Indonesian port of Merak after a four-month standoff.

This newspaper has been told Indonesia is preparing to remove the Sri Lankans by force if necessary, and send them to Tanjung Pinang immigration detention centre for processing by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

"These people will be transferred to another location in West Java soon," a senior Indonesian official said. Dr Yudhoyono described a "love-hate relationship" between two countries, which he said had evolved into a model partnership - not without its challenges, but one that was drawing world envy.

He said government-to-government ties between Jakarta and Canberra had never been better.

But Dr Yudhoyono warned against complacency.

He said he was personally concerned about ill-informed perceptions of Indonesian society by Australians, and vice-versa.

"There are Australians who still see Indonesia as an authoritarian country or a military dictatorship or as a hotbed of Islamic extremism, or even as an expansionist power," the President said.

On the other hand, there were Indonesians afflicted by what he called "Australia-phobia - those who believe that the notion of White Australia still persists, that Australia harbours ill-intention towards Indonesia," he said.

"We must expunge these preposterous mental caricatures if we are to achieve a more resilient partnership."

Earlier, Mr Rudd heaped lavish praise on Indonesia's achievements following the end of the Suharto regime in 1998.

"The people of Indonesia enjoy a free media, an open society and religious tolerance," Mr Rudd said.

"They live in a multi-party democracy in which transitions to power take place according to law.

"In Indonesia, democracy now has strong foundations."

During talks earlier yesterday morning, Mr Rudd and Dr Yudhoyono agreed to further strengthen relations with an annual leaders' retreat and a meeting of foreign and defence ministers.

Tony Abbott said he supported Mr Rudd's remarks but used his speech in parliament to criticise Labor's policy on border protection.

In a three-hour meeting yesterday morning, Dr Yudhoyono and the Prime Minister discussed the three Australian drug smugglers facing the death penalty in Indonesia.

"He indicated to the President that should any member of the group seek clemency, he would support the request directly with the President," a spokeswoman for the Prime Minister said last night.

Work will soon start on a prisoner exchange agreement between Indonesia and Australia.

Both leaders also discussed the 1975 killings of the Balibo Five journalists and expressed sympathy for those bereaved by the tragedy.

The Indonesian leader flew out of Canberra last night to Sydney for talks with business leaders aimed at boosting trade links.

Yudhoyono calls for change

Sydney Morning Herald
by Peter Hartcher
March 11, 2010

Indonesia's President has broken out of the polite ceremonials of a state visit to Australia to tell us bluntly the central problem with the relationship.

It is the old ideas we each carry in our heads about the other, according to Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. He's right.

The official relationship is the best it has been in its 60-year history. But Yudhoyono was looking to reach beyond, to speak to the people of both countries, to look for a transformation.

"The first challenge is to bring a change in each other's mindset," he told a joint sitting of both houses of the Federal Parliament.

The leader of the world's third-most populous democracy said he was "taken aback" by a Lowy Institute poll last year that found 54 per cent of Australians doubted Indonesia would act responsibly in international relations.

He railed against "the persistence of age-old stereotypes". And he accurately summed them up.

Yudhoyono pointed out that some Australians still see Indonesia as a military threat or a hotbed of Islamic extremism.

And in Indonesia, said Yudhoyono, "Australiaphobes" harboured their own set of conspiracy theories. White Australia remained alive, and Australia supported the break-up of Indonesia.

"We must expunge these preposterous mental caricatures," said Yudhoyono, universally known as SBY.

It is because the two peoples know so little about each other, because dark suspicions still linger, that the relationship falls easy prey to a mishap or piece of bad news.

It is unthinkable that Australia's relationship with the US, Japan or New Zealand could turn on an ugly consular case.

Yet relations with Indonesia routinely go into crisis and convulsion when Jakarta arrests an Australian drug trafficker.

Yudhoyono has been central to Indonesia's successful emergence as a moderate, stable, peaceful, secular democracy.

Now he wants Australia to forge a modern relationship with his new Indonesia. Yudhoyono said that to give meaning to happy sentiments, the two countries needed to solve problems together.

He demonstrated that he was serious. First, he told Parliament that Indonesia was about to criminalise people smuggling, under penalty of five years in jail.

Second, he signed a new agreement to increase co-operation with Australia in stopping people-smuggling.

Third, he demonstrated the continuing solid Indonesian performance in counter-terrorism of the past few years by announcing that one of the Bali bombers, Dulmatin, had been killed by Indonesian police.

For Indonesia, he made one strong demand. Australia should "understand and appreciate" that the "success of peace and reconciliation" in the provinces of Aceh and Papua, home to some separatist aspirations, were "a matter of national survival for us Indonesians". This is a clear red line.

The two countries are fated to live next to each other forever. But the quality of the relationship is a matter of choice.

Yudhoyono deals on smugglers

The Age
by Katherine Murphy
March 11, 2010

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono says his country will criminalise people smuggling and step up relocation efforts as part of a bilateral agreement to curb unlawful immigration.

After months of fraught negotiations Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and President Yudhoyono have unveiled a pact under which Jakarta will impose five-year prison sentences on people smugglers.

President Yudhoyono declined to give specific details about whether Australia had offered more funding, or whether Indonesian authorities had been asked to intercept more boats.

The efforts were unveiled during a visit in which President Yudhoyono delivered a landmark speech to a joint sitting of Federal Parliament. His textured address, which won a standing ovation, traversed the highs and lows of the relationship.

Yesterday's commitment came as another boatload of 46 asylum seekers was picked up north of the Ashmore islands, the 21st boat this year.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott elected to be partisan, using his welcoming remarks for President Yudhoyono to criticise the Rudd government's policies.

The "right" policies in Australia and co-operation with Indonesia would stop the boats, Mr Abbott declared. "It worked when we worked together before," he declared.

Mr Abbott's remarks clearly irritated the Prime Minister and senior ministers sitting opposite, and some of the Opposition Leader's colleagues also looked uncomfortable.

In a closed door meeting between the two leaders, Mr Rudd sought clemency for the Bali nine - three in the group face the death penalty - and he signalled interest in convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby being transferred home.

The Balibo five incident, which has complicated relations between the two countries for more than 30 years, was also discussed. President Yudhoyono expressed sympathy for the families and received a letter from Shirley Shackleton, widow of one of the Australian journalists killed in 1975.

Mrs Shackleton later described the conciliatory gesture as "a little bit of a miracle".

President Yudhoyono took the opportunity to confirm that Jemaah Islamiah operative and Bali bombs mastermind Dulmatin had been killed in a police raid.

The Prime Minister and the President also signed off on a commitment to meet annually. Foreign and defence ministers from Canberra and Jakarta will also meet.

Mr Rudd also signalled to the Indonesian media that Australia would maintain its system of travel advice - a touchy subject in Indonesia given the strong warnings to potential visitors.

In his frank but carefully nuanced address, President Yudhoyono said Indonesia and Australia now enjoyed a "fair dinkum partnership" - but he argued there was no room for complacency. Trust had to be earned, he said.

The Indonesian President outlined a series of future challenges, including stereotypical and caricatured perceptions in both countries - with Indonesians fearing the old "white Australia" culture, and Australians fearing an authoritarian "expansionist" regime.

President Yudhoyono also addressed a number of sensitive issues head on. Sovereignty over territories such as Aceh and Papua was not a "trivial" issue for Indonesia, but a "matter of national survival", he said.

Of the relationship, President Yudhoyono said: "We are equal stakeholders in a common future, with much to gain if we get this relationship right, and much to lose if we get it wrong."

In welcoming the President, Mr Rudd said: "We are neighbours by circumstance, but we are friends because we have chosen to be friends."

Mr Rudd presented the President, a keen singer-songwriter, with an Australian Maton guitar.

Jakarta's smuggle law years away

Stephen Fitzpatrick and Mark Dodd
The Australian
March 12, 2010 12:00AM

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's promise to introduce laws punishing people-smuggling with five-year jail terms was largely for political effect and could be years from being passed, it was claimed yesterday.

The proposed penalty backs down significantly from the 10-year sentences Australia believed as recently as late last year to be on the table.

Addressing the Australian parliament this week, Dr Yudhoyono said his government would "soon introduce to parliament a law that will criminalise those involved in people-smuggling (and) those found guilty will be sent to prison for five years".

However, the laws - which the President first proposed in 2008, during a trip by Kevin Rudd to Bali - are only at the drafting stage, which would then be followed by a lengthy passage through a potentially hostile parliament.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith admitted yesterday he had been given no timetable for the legislation, but said he accepted it would be "subject to (Indonesia's) parliamentary process".

The proposed five-year jail terms backtrack on 10-year sentences suggested in December to Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor and Australian Federal Police Commissioner Tony Negus, during a trip to Jakarta.

Mr O'Connor told The Australian at the time the mooted sanctions were "a very welcome sign . . . they mentioned between five and 10 years, which I think is a really significant thing, specifically in relation to people-smuggling offences".

Doubts over Indonesia's move came as the 23rd (sic) asylum-seeker vessel to be apprehended in Australian waters this year was yesterday 220km northwest of the Tiwi Islands, near Darwin, after experiencing engine failure, according to a spokesman for Mr O'Connor.

Its 26 Afghan passengers brought to 1078 the number of asylum-seekers apprehended this year, along with 58 mostly Indonesian crew.

Under current Indonesian law, prosecutions for unlawful attempts to reach Australia by sea are usually conducted under immigration, maritime or administrative laws.

Repeat offender Abraham Louhenapessy, also known as Captain Bram, is currently being tried under maritime law for being in charge of a boat carrying about 250 Sri Lankans that was intercepted by Indonesia's navy on Mr Rudd's request last October. That boat remains at the dock at Merak, in western Java, with its occupants refusing to leave until Australia offers them resettlement.

But with no possibility of being charged for people-smuggling, Mr Louhenapessy is likely to receive only a small fine for sailing with incomplete paperwork, and will be allowed to return to his native Ambon island.

A presidential instruction issued in January, providing details of the policy agenda for every ministry in Dr Yudhoyono's government, makes no mention of any new people-smuggling legislation, despite the President's announcement on Wednesday.

Justice Minister Djoko Suyanto, asked recently what his own department's priorities were, replied that in line with the presidential decree "eliminating corruption" was key.

Any people-smuggling legislation must first be drafted by Mr Suyanto's department.

After that, public submissions will be called and a revised version of the draft law will be submitted to Indonesia's parliament for consideration.

Parliament will then seek its own public submissions before finally voting on the bill.

Dr Yudhoyono's Democratic Party is well short of a majority in the 560-seat legislature, and only last week suffered a bruising defeat when most of its coalition partners voted against it in a process that could ultimately lead to presidential impeachment.

Politics lecturer Baiq Wardhani, from Surabaya's Airlangga University, yesterday described Dr Yudhoyono's promise during his parliamentary address in Canberra as "diplomatic sweet talk" designed to impress Australia.

Dr Wardhani, an international relations expert with postgraduate degrees from Monash University, said talk of criminalising people-smuggling had arisen "only because the President went to Australia . . . within the government itself, it's never thought about seriously.

"They concentrate more on strange laws such as the anti-pornography law, things that aren't really important," Dr Wardhani said.

"I see it as only a mention of something without action being forthcoming."

Jakarta seeks the extradition of five from Australia

Mark Dodd
The Australian
March 16, 2010

Indonesia is seeking the extradition of five men from Australia, two of them Australians. The extradition request was delivered during last week's visit by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

It's understood Dr Yudhoyono also raised the fate of 173 Indonesians held in Australian jails, accused of people-smuggling.

The five sought by Jakarta include three Indonesians believed to be living in Australia.

Indonesian Sofyan Sarabin, whose whereabouts is not known, and Australian Christopher John James, 36, from Mackay, are wanted for alleged fraud offences and their names are listed on the Interpol website. The other Australian named by Indonesian authorities is Peter Dundas Walbron, who is wanted over alleged acts of violence against children.

One of the two Indonesian nationals is Andrian Kiki Ariawan, a former Bank Surya chief convicted in absentia of corruption and embezzlement and sentenced to life imprisonment. He is alleged to have fled to Australia. Accused forger Jason Tanuwijaya is also thought to be living in Australia.

A spokesman for Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor said the government did not comment on extradition requests, but did not deny the five were being sought by Jakarta.

Last week, the state-run Antara news reported Indonesia's Law and Human Rights Minister Patrialis Akbar as saying a request for extradition had been sent to Canberra.

"We have fulfilled Canberra's request for the extradition of three of its criminals convicted in Indonesia but Australia has not done the same on our request for the extradition of five convicts now living in Australia," Mr Patrialis said.

"I have told the Australian Attorney-General and the Immigration Minister that we have to be balanced regarding the extradition cases," he said.

The three extradited to Australia were named as alleged pedophile Charles Alfred Barnett, 68, a former Adelaide priest; alleged people-smuggler Hadi Ahmadi; and Paul Francis Callahan, sought on child sex allegations.

It's understood the Indonesian leader raised concerns about 173 nationals accused of people-smuggling -- some currently before the courts. "SBY is concerned because he believes most of them are ordinary fishermen," a Jakarta source said.